The Science of Happiness Course

The Science of Happiness is our flagship online course that explores the roots of a happy and meaningful life. Students engage with some of the most provocative and practical lessons from this science, discovering how cutting-edge research can be applied to their own lives.

Since it first launched in September of 2014, The Science of Happiness has been hugely popular: It is one of the top 10 courses on the edX platform, where it is hosted; more than 550,000 students have registered for it so far; and students who complete the course report significant increases in their happiness and decreases in their levels of stress and loneliness.

“This is the most useful course I have ever taken,” said one student. “The materials that were offered in this course completely changed my perspective towards life.”

Register now to experience the Science of Happiness for yourself!

The Science of Happiness is led by two celebrated teachers from the Greater Good Science Center: Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D., the GGSC’s science director, and GGSC founder Dacher Keltner, Ph.D., who is a psychology professor at UC Berkeley and author of the best-selling book Born to Be Good.

It zeroes in on a core finding from positive psychology: that happiness is inextricably linked to strong social ties and contributing to something bigger than yourself. Students learn about the varied research supporting this view and gain practical, research-based strategies for nurturing their own happiness. And it works: Previous participants have reported significant increases in happiness and life satisfaction and decreases in stress.

The course is divided into eight one-week segments featuring short videos by the instructors and guest lectures from other experts, including Sonja Lyubomirsky, Barbara Fredrickson, and Jon Kabat-Zinn. It also includes readings that make the science accessible and understandable, along with weekly “happiness practices” that students can try on their own. There is an additional week in the middle of the course for a midterm and a week at the end for a final exam.

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Here are some ways you can enhance your experience taking The Science of Happiness:

Taking the Course as a Team

Why not take the class as a team, perhaps with friends or colleagues? Our Facilitator’s Guide can help you organize in-person meetings to coincide with the run of the course.

The guide provides week-by-week instructions for how to present key topics; addresses the most common questions students have; and helps you try out suggested exercises, activities, and practices from the course in a group setting.

Verified Track

Please note that you can explore most of The Science of Happiness for two and a half months for free—simply choose Audit This Course when you register. However, to access all course materials, upgrade to the Verified Track on edX for $169. As a Verified learner, you’ll have access to the full course for as long as the course is hosted on, and you will receive a certificate of completion when you finish.

If you plan to use your course for job applications, promotions, or school applications, you may prefer to have this verified certificate of completion. It’s also a great way to give yourself an incentive to complete the course and celebrate your success.

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